Traders’ protest hits NH widening in Kozhikode

Merchants in places like Payyoli demand better rehabilitation package

The disgruntlement among a section of traders is posing a challenge to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI|) in continuing with the ongoing highway widening plan on some of the key stretches in Kozhikode district. Many of them, backed by the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti (KVVES), are in protest mode, preventing contractors from taking over their property citing disputes over the State government’s rehabilitation package.

The resistance is now mostly visible among a section of traders in Payyoli who claim that they will not be able to survive with the already declared rehabilitation package alone. They seek a better package for traders who are senior citizens considering their difficulties in resuming the business in a new setting. They also called upon the district administration to study the real issues of traders being displaced.

“Though the government is keen to address the financial concerns of building owners, those who occupied rented buildings for a living are still clueless about any supportive measure on the part of the government. Such traders are now part of the campaign against the highway development plan,” said a senior merchant association leader.

Traders’ action committee leaders said nearly 150 shops would have to be demolished in Payyoli town area alone for the proposed six-lane highway widening project. “Though all the building owners are likely to get their compensation amount, the future of those who will be dislocated in the name of development is uncertain,” they said.

“In the earlier package announced by the government, there was clear mention about the compensation to be given to evacuated traders as well.

However, there is no confirmation yet about it though the authorities are forcibly trying to evacuate shops,” said a 65-year-old merchant from Payyoli.

Some of the traders from Payyoli have resisted forcible evacuation attempts saying that they were not intimated on time.

Their plan is to continue with the protest by preventing all such forcible measures to raze down buildings ahead of finalising an acceptable relief package.

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